Rob Gronkowski opened up about his former teammate Aaron Hernandez for the first time in an interview on Thursday.
In 2013, Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder. He was later convicted in 2015 and sentenced to serve life in prison. He was indicted for a 2012 double murder but was acquitted in 2017. He died by suicide that same year.
Gronkowski talked about Hernandez getting arrested on The Ringer’s “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” podcast.
“Aaron was a great player. He was a great football player. But … I get questions like that all the time, about him and everything. And, with everything going on, I was definitely shook when I heard that,” Gronkowski said.
“Being a teammate and everything … you really don’t see that. You’re not really looking into players like that’s who they are, or that’s what they’re doing. You know, just overall I just try to keep it simple and light. He was a great football player, but that doesn’t mean anything.”
In a letter obtained by TMZ Sports in 2016, Hernandez expressed his support for Brady and Gronkowski.
“The closest I was with was probably Brady and whom I love to death and always will and only hope the best for them,” he wrote of Brady.
On Gronkowski, Hernandez wrote: “The BEST TE ever to walk on a football field.”
He also hammered Patriots owner Robert Kraft, saying his word didn’t mean much to him.
In 2013, Gronkowski refused to talk about Hernandez during an interview with CBS.